Sun, 05 Apr 2020

Yadav, Pandey close out comfortable India win

ESPN
25 Feb 2020, 00:52 GMT+10

India 142 for 6 (Verma 39, Rodrigues 34, Panna 2-25, Salma 2-25) beat Bangladesh 124 for 8 (Nigar 35, Murshida 30, Yadav 3-18, Pandey 2-14) by 18 runs

India put on another adroit performance while defending a total, using smart bowling combinations to suffocate Bangladesh's chase after squandering a brilliant start with the bat. Player-of-the-Match Shafali Verma's 17-ball 39 anchored an innings that fell apart in the middle, but a late cameo from Veda Krishnamurthy helped India put up 142. Bangladesh had little in the way of partnerships as they set about this chase as they were stifled by Poonam Yadav's 3 for 18 and Shikha Pandey's 2 for 14 to fall short by 18 runs. India are currently top of their group with two wins in two games.

No Mandhana, but India have their best powerplay

Harmanpreet Kaur said at the toss that India had wanted to bat first and put up a decent score, a task that would be made slightly more difficult in the absence of opener Smriti Mandhana, who was out with a viral fever. In her place, 16-year-old Richa Ghosh was brought in, but it was wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia who opened with Shafali Verma.

While Bhatia was out second over, Verma continued her impressive march at the senior level. It began with medium pacer Jahnara Alam going around the wicket straight away to her in the first over, allowing her room to free her arms and slap one with the wind to clear the deep cover fielder. She also cleared long-on off Salma Khatun in the next over, before cashing in even more on Alam's extra width, as she struggled to cope with Verma's vicious on-the-up hitting from both over and around the wicket.

She welcomed Panna Ghosh with a dominant straight six, first ball of the sixth over and was batting on 39 off 15 at that point. But a similar attempt two balls later came off the toe end and she was dismissed at mid-off, a catch taken off the second attempt. India were 54 for 2 at the end of the powerplay, their highest powerplay score in T20Is.

Familiar story

India's long-winding battle with figuring out middle-overs batting would resurface once more. Jemimah Rodrigues looked assured and free-flowing, without being too boisterous - almost as if her role was to see India into the 20th over. She was helped twice at the long-on boundary, where sweetly struck drives that were hit straight to the fielders ended up turning into boundaries. Misfields were a potent feature, unfortunately, for Bangladesh, but they still managed to apply the brakes on India through to run-outs. First Rodrigues fell short coming back for a second against the throw from deep cover. Then, a comical mix-up between Deepti Sharma and Veda Krishnamurthy, who got in such a tangle that they were both hurtling towards the same crease, in a race with each other that the latter won.

Preceding both the run-outs were the dismissals of Kaur - hitting a loose flap to a short and wide delivery from Panna - and Richa, who wholed out to long-on.

India were 114 for 6 at the end of the 17th over, and it took an 11-ball came from Krishnamurthy to inject some pace to the innings. Krishnamurthy, a senior who has struggled for substantial scores recently, was batted at No. 7 on Monday. Her four boundaries helped India to 142.

India apply the pressure

India began with the offspin of Sharma, the medium pace of Shikha Pandey, and the left-arm spin of Rajeshwari Gayakwad. At the end of a modest powerplay that brought 33 for the loss of Shamima Sultana, India brought on Arundathi Reddy as well. The first ten overs brought only 60 for Bangladesh, and Poonam Yadav had bowled only of those overs.

A little too much to get

Yadav's slowness had been a big factor in Australia's struggle to attack her on Friday during their defeat. With 83 to get off the last ten, and three Yadav overs remaining, Bangladesh were going to have some struggles too. Sanjida Islam certainly had those, trying to drag her behind square from outside off only to get an inside edge to Bhatia that was confirmed on replay in the 11th over. Fargana Hoque was caught swiping across next over too, and Bangladesh were reeling at 66 for 4 in the 12th over.

Nigar Sultana played one of the innings of the evening, and kept Bangladesh in the game. Nigar was ruthless in putting away bad deliveries, like the two short ones she got from Reddy in the 10th over that were carved either side of point. Deliveries down leg side from spin and pace were dealt with in similar vein, but the best shot was a flowing drive through the covers against Gayakwad, inside-out after stepping out.

Bangladesh were given reprieves throughout the innings, with India dropping at least three catchable chances. But a partnership never came. In the 16th over Yadav dismissed Fahima Khatun, caught at square leg trying to sweep, and Gayakwad had Nigar in identical fashion to follow that. They managed only 64 in the second half of the innings.

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